2010 the warmest and wettest year on record

Monday 17th Jan 2011 by theWeather Club

So the observations have been collated, the numbers have been thoroughly crunched and the results have been released. And, to nobody's great surprise, it appears that last year was the warmest on planet Earth since records began back in 1880.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a US government agency, the combined global land and ocean annual surface temperatures for 2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest on record, at 0.62°C above the 20th century average. Taking land surface temperatures alone, last year was the equal second warmest year, at 0.96°C above the average. NOAA's findings were closely mirrored by similar analysis published by NASA, which, although differing slightly in some of the numbers, came to the same broad conclusions.

These figures were far from unexpected, fitting as they do with a clear pattern of rapid global warming. 2010 was the 34th year running that global temperatures have been above the 20th-century average, with the last below-average figure occurring way back in 1976. The NOAA figures show that nine of the 10 warmest years on record have taken place since the beginning of 2001.

As well as being warm, 2010 was also extremely wet. According to the Global Historical Climatology Network, last year was the wettest on record in terms of global average precipitation, a fact that will comes as little surprise to anybody who has watched the news in the past 12 months and seen story after story of floods and spectacular rainfall in just about every corner of the globe.